Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Night Riders

There are usually a few nights a week that Nate gets home around dinner time but has to leave again an hour or two later. He always finds a way to make the most of the time he has with the kids. Lately they have been riding bikes in the culdesac...even though it's dark outside. Much more fun that way. :)

Emmy insisted on bringing a few animals. It took her a couple minutes to realize she wouldn't be able to ride her bike if she had an armful of fluffiness.

I don't know what it is exactly, but this one cracks me up. Natalie wanted to go for a ride in the jogging stroller.

Monday, November 26, 2012


We spent Thanksgiving with the Comins again this year. I'm not sure how many times we've been lucky enough to celebrate this holiday with them, but it's quite a few. We're definitely grateful to have so many great turkey memories with them. We ordered from Claim Jumper again (shhhhhh!)...delicious food and almost no stress. We'll do the whole home cooked she-bang again sometime soon, but it wasn't going to be this year. :)

I did request smiles and that everyone stay on their bums while I took the picture, but this is what I got.

Love this girl.

Emmy had a little bit of a rough night, even with Strawberry Shortcake at her fingertips. She found 2 of Maizie's shoes and wore them around all evening.

We got to sneak in most of a movie while the kids watched Scooby Doo upstairs. Emmy fell asleep quickly on the drive home. I think one of the greatest things about the day was knowing that it was only Thursday, and we had a few more days ahead of us with no school or work.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ING Again

LOVING: Swiss Miss hot chocolate at night

READING: a book called Crewel. Nate ordered it while he was in DC and had it sent to me

WATCHING: my "watching" has basically ceased now that Nate is home, but I watched an episode of a documentary called Addicted recently. One of my favorite quick watches at night when I'm alone is The Office

ANTICIPATING: pulling out the Christmas decor and candles and listening to Christmas music nonstop for the next month

LISTENING TO: a little Straight No Chaser, lots of David Tolk

PLANNING: all of Nate's leave (time off work) for the next 6 months. We're hoping to make a trip to Hawaii with just the two of us work out

WORKING ON: a family night lesson about table manners. We need them. I'm sure I'll blog about this because it involves a plastic pig...

WISHING: I was programmed to stay up later. My body shuts down pretty early at night

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Aviation Nation

I was so sad when I realized Nate would be out of town for the air show at Nellis this year. The past two years Steve and Jody have come down, and it was becoming a little bit of a tradition. Thankfully, my friend Becca is also husbandless far too often, so we took the kids.

It turned out to be an unexpected morning. We had planned to go around 9:30, but the Nelson's pet bunny got his little tail ripped off accidentally. Yes, literally. She took him to the vet, and the kids had a great morning just playing together. We couldn't decide if we still wanted to hit the air show because it would mean the little girls would miss naps. We went for it though, and I'm glad we did.

It was actually really chilly. The clouds and that darn wind really made it cooold.

Who cares though right!? We probably stayed an hour and a half, and had a lot of fun.

I am always on the verge of bursting into tears when I see the Thunderbirds. Like, good/happy/thankful/proud tears.

I'm so grateful for these fun opportunities and for my awesome husband who serves his country in the best way he could.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In the Lead

It seems my kids are always jockeying to hold the title "most difficult child at this moment in time." Emmy has been finishing in first place pretty consistently. I can't even tell you how many times a day I look at this girl and my heart just swells with love though. Besides spilled smoothies (I left her alone for a minute too long), the big thing with her is she wants to be held all the time. I don't mean like cuddled on the couch or in a rocking chair. I have to be standing up. Another tough one...when she realizes I've left the room she wigs out. This makes it very hard to get much done. She is getting better at getting caught up in the pretend play of Jansen and Natalie and friends though.

She loves wearing these stretchy headbands. Right now she calls all necklaces and bracelets "nacelets." I guess she is combining the two words?

Oh boy. We also have a slew of animals and babies with us when we go to bed, go in the stroller, etc. I do set some limits, but the bed and the stroller are usually equipped with kitties and babies.

She insists on putting her shoes on by herself, which is great, except when we are in a hurry. And she always puts them on the wrong feet and wants to keep them that way. Oh well.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Dad's Up To

I thought I'd post a few pictures and include some information about what Nate is up to.

He has been in Washington DC for about 3 weeks, and has one more week to go. He is there out there receiving some excellent training in faculty development and sports medicine. Luckily, in between all that he is learning and working on, he has been able to...

...go to the temple 

...do a little birdwatching

...and enjoy the beauty found in that part of the U.S.

He is staying at a Navy Lodge, but also spends some nights in call rooms at the hospital. This particular night was really chilly, and there was no thermostat or extra blanket. He had to use his uniform to help him stay warm.

Today he sent me this picture. They are practicing ultrasound guided injections on pork shoulders. 

Natalie wanted to send Nate a text today. Here's what she wrote and his response:

Since this blog is like our family journal, here is a more detailed description of Nate's experiences from his point of view:

I came to Washington D.C. for two big reasons: Faculty Development fellowship and Sports Medicine fellowship.  The Faculty Development fellowship is a 1-month experience for 3rd-year Family Medicine Residents.  It basically "teaches you how to teach."  It is taught by some of the highest-ranking, most well-known and well-respected doctors in the military, and it is highly competitive. It is awarded to one resident from each service (Army, Navy, Air Force) every year, who is interested in teaching medical students and residents.  Each residency program gets to nominate one resident to compete, and I was selected out of all the Nellis residents.  It was a high honor to then be selected from among all the Air Force applicants nationwide to actually attend the fellowship.  I have had the chance to be taught one-on-one by some high-ranking and gifted teachers.  I have had the chance to teach and evaluate medical students in several settings, including history-taking skills, suturing skills (skin lacerations), and gave a workshop on physical examination of the neck and lumbar spine.  I had a ton of fun with  this!  Another important aspect of the Fac Dev fellowship is research.  I have been working very hard (to say the least) on two big research projects.  I am coauthoring a review article on hip dysplasia (analyzing and summarizing the current medical literature) for American Family Physician, which is the most widely-read journal among family doctors.  We just submitted our second draft to the editors.  Huge undertaking!  My other big project is an actual investigation I am conducting, which evaluates the relationship between obesity and musculoskeletal injuries.  We have a MASSIVE data set, and our analysis of the data shows some very significant results.  I am currently working on writing the manuscript, and have entered a research competition.  I have been invited to present my research at a big conference for military family doctors (may seem like a small group, but there are many hundreds that attend the conference each year). 

The other reason I'm here is the Sports Medicine fellowship.  This is a 1-year training program for board-certified family doctors (who have completed residency and passed boards).  I am basically here to interview for the program next year, and to rotate with them to see how I like the program and for them to see if they like me.  The fellowship teaches management of all musculoskeletal disorders, ranging from sprains to fractures to arthritis to concussions to dislocations and so forth.  We do everything short of surgery, including therapeutic exercise regimens, splinting/casting, pain management, joint injections, physical therapy, etc.  Ultrasound is rapidly becoming an important diagnostic tool for sports medicine doctors, and the military program here at Ft. Belvoir is one of the very first few fellowships to incorporate ultrasound teaching into the curriculum.  This program is ranked among the top 10 in the country!  In addition to seeing patients in clinic, I have had the chance to provide sideline medical coverage for two high school football games and a martial arts tournament.  Definitely a lot of fun!  

On the horizon:  From the looks of things, there is a decent chance I will get selected for the sports fellowship next year.  Normally it is almost impossible to be selected right out of residency, but this year there happen to be very few applicants.  So there is a chance we will be here in D.C. for a one-year fellowship next year.  There is also a chance we will do a sports fellowship at a civilian program somewhere in the U.S. (anywhere).  And if I don't get selected for a sports fellowship this year, we will likely head to Travis AFB (between SF and Sacramento) for a faculty position supervising residents.  All of these options are excellent, so we really can't go wrong!  We will find out on Dec 13th what will happen.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Here's how our Halloween went.
The kids both had Trunk or Treats at school on Halloween day, and I sat and handed out candy at Natalie's.  That night our neighbors (the Zygmonts) invited us over for chili and cornbread. I had sent out a mass text a few days earlier and invited people to come trick or treat with us about 6. We had a fun group and wandered our way around for an hour and a half or so. It was almost the exception to find houses handing out candy instead of the reverse.

Here is Miss Strawberry Shortcake. She had never wanted to wear her wig until Halloween night. I am so glad she changed her mind! I couldn't fuss with it too much in case she decided to throw a tantrum, so it's a little tousled. :)

Our "Thor with a dollar store sword" and pretty little witch...

This is at the Zygmont's house. Look at Emmy's long, beautiful locks!

Some of the little girl trick or treaters

And the big girl trick or treaters

The group of kids

Emmy did awesome. What I mean is, she stayed in her stroller the whole time. She had a sucker in each hand...what more could she ask for? This year the kids traded in their candy for a toy. I just can't resist all those treats, and I get tired of hearing them ask for it. It was a win-win. We ate some for a day or two, but then I just dumped it in the trash. It was so hard to see all that goodness go to waste! But I am so glad it's gone.

Also, my mom left today. She came and spent a few days with us while Nate is gone. Always tears at my heart a little when she leaves!